Archive for Monday, July 14, 2008

In “miserable” budget discussion, county arrives at 3.4 mill increase; decision not final

July 14, 2008

Douglas County commissioners crunched their own budget numbers Monday morning and came up with a mill levy increase of 3.4 mills.

No final decisions were made. Commissioners will take up budgeting issues again at 5 p.m. Wednesday. A final decision is expected then, although the 2009 budget won't formally be approved until mid-August.

Commissioners have said they want to keep increases in the 2 to 3 mill range, if not less. Because county revenues are down or flat and costs such as fuel are going up, commissioners are making cuts to keep from raising the mill levy any higher.

Individually, commissioners came up with their budget figures and spent this morning working on the differences.

Commissioners said they spent a "miserable weekend" digesting budget information presented to them last week by county administrators and thinking about the comments they received from departments and agencies about how cuts will affect their operations.

"This was one of the more miserable weekends I've had as county commissioner. It was terrible," Charles Jones said.

Added Commissioner Bob Johnson: "This was the first time in eight years on the County Commission that I found myself wishing that someone else was making the decisions."

Commissioner Jere McElhaney said he tried to keep cuts to a minimum for basic services such as law enforcement, public works and maintenance. As for some outside agency funding, he said he thinks community groups and churches should shoulder more of the burdens.

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